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New commander takes reins at 47th Flying Training Wing

Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, has been graduating pilots since the mid-1950’s and has seen nearly 22,000 silver wings presented to graduates. Currently, the base uses the T-6A Texan II, T-38C Talon and the T-1A Jayhawk to teach American and allied nation’s pilots to fly. (U.S. Air Force Graphic by Airman 1st Class Marco A. Gomez)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

Col. Lee Gentile assumed command of the 47th Flying Training Wing Oct. 31 during a ceremony in Hangar 1 at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas.

“Every Airman is crucial to the success of the wing’s mission,” Gentile said.  “As leaders, it’s our mission to ensure our Airmen understand their part and their impact.”

Gentile comes to Laughlin from Vance AFB, Oklahoma, where he was the vice wing commander. 

“My viewpoint is simple,” he said.  “People are people, not objects.  Each of us matters the same, irrespective of rank, position, race, color, religion, gender, sexual preference or national origin.  There is no room for discrimination or harassment.”

Gentile was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. His flying assignments include duties as a T-37 instructor pilot, A-10 and T-6 instructor pilot and flight examiner, the 51st Operations Group Chief of Standardization and Evaluation, 14th Flying Training Wing chief of Safety, 41st Flying Training Squadron commander, and director of the Air Force Element at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Gentile has three combat tours in Southwest Asia.

“Each of us joined the Air Force for a reason, for a purpose, for a mission,” he said. “Our mission is training the next generation of combat aviators. Nobody does it better than Team XL. Each and every one of you plays a vital part in making that happen."

“Lastly, be proud of your service: you are part of the one percent,” he said. “The one percent who raised your right hand and swore to defend your country with your life. When you go home and tell your friends and family your stories, you want to be proud to tell about every single second you spent in service to Team XL and the United States Air Force.”

The wing consists of more than 2,800 members conducting specialized undergraduate pilot training for more than 350 U.S. Air Force and allied student pilots each year. Members of the 47th FTW train on the T-1A, T-6A and T-38C, and fly more than 81,000 flying hours and 56,000 sorties each year.